Posts tagged “grief

Funeral Photography

If anyone has visited recently, you might notice I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks.  Please accept my apologies.  The past three weeks have been rough & although there have been some very positive & happy moments, I’ve been rather down lately.  I want this blog to be a happy place full of positive energy.  At the urging of two dear friends I considered writing the following post.  Then a post from FarmerLady-Adventures in Hinterland, came across my email.  She too has had a challenging few weeks but this statement resonated with me…

“Then I decided that part of the reason I keep this blog is so that Geoff and I can look back on this whole experiment and see how far we have come–so we would have a record of the ups, the downs, and everything in between.” ~FarmerLady

Therefore I’m from here on out giving you my hills and valleys…The beginning of August started as any other August – our county fair and preparation for State Fair.  The following week my sister-in-law’s mom was taken to the ER due to severe pain.  They found she had a tumor on her pancreas.  After two biopsies she’s been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and has been given 6 months to 2 years to live.  While dealing of this news and attempting to manage the pain, her mom passed away (my sister-in-laws grandma).   The following week they did a procedure on my sister-in-law’s mom which numbed the nerve related to the pancreas.  It helped lower the pain & cut the pain meds in half.  They are attempting to lengthen her life by choosing radiation and chemotherapy.  Both are becoming very difficult for her.  She’s extremely tired.  The nausea due to the chemo is taking it’s toll.  Today, I believe has been worst day yet.  She’s vomited numerous times this morning.  They are trying a fourth anti-nausea med. this afternoon.

The pain my sister-in-law is enduring is testing every ounce of strength she has in her petite body.   I wish I could give her a hug and make all of this go away.   Following my ‘step-dad’s’ fatal accident, so many emotions are back.  I’m so fearful of death right now.  We are young, my sister-in-law isn’t even 30, I’m only 33.  My other sister-in-law lost her mom to breast cancer almost three years ago.  We shouldn’t have to deal with this part of life yet!!

Two years ago on show day at our State Fair, my husband’s grandma passed away (my father-in-laws mom).  I always admired her perkiness and laughter.  When Pickle was a toddler, she would play and play and play with him.  Just as though she was a child.  It was hard to watch someone with such zest for life pass.  Being away at the fair we helped load all of the equipment while my in-laws took the cows home.  We were unable to contribute to the visitation/funeral photos. 😦

Then on Halloween night, as we were driving to my hometown to trick or treat we received a call that his grandpa had passed (my father-in-laws dad).  Three days prior he was riding in the combine helping finish up for the year.  His work here was finished.  Pickle and grandpa had been very close so there were pictures of the two of them mowing or sitting together at the fair.  A couple of Willis but not nearly enough.  This was a week before Pudder was born.

Then May of ’09,  my husband’s other grandpa became very ill.  His prostate cancer had returned for the last time.  I always admired his sense of humor & his silliness which was passed down to my hubby.   Again, we searched for photos.  Fortunately, the task of displaying them was given to his cousins.  We wished there were more pics of grandpa with all three of the boys.  We buried grandpa, a veteran of ww2, just before Memorial Day.

Summer passed, fall flew by and the second Sat. of December we lost a friend in a car accident about a mile 1/2 from our house.  She had hit black ice and went into the oncoming traffic.  She was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known.  Her smile would light up a room.  The night before the visitation her sister & friends were going through pictures.  Each looking for a certain photo, one with so & so or one from when she did this or that.  I couldn’t bare to look.  Little did I know.

Then Christmas Day.  A day that will forever be chiseled in my memory & heart.  One moment we were all looking out of the back of my mom’s house at all of the squirrels running around in the woods.  We each ‘jokingly’ picked out which one we were going to shoot & eat.  The next moment the man who was more of a dad to me than my own,  was on the phone being briefed about a wall that was caving in on a building at the university in town.   This gracious and giving man agreed to attend to the dangerous situation, but not until we opened our gifts.  (Two days later I read a similar sentence in the local newspaper.)

The boys were tickled pink, ok, camo, with the new farm set he & mom had given them.  Pudder was given a darling, soft teddy bear that he still sleeps with at night.  Then he acted surprised as he opened mom’s gift.  A new western vest for when they go riding.  (He had tried it on in the store a few nights before)  Time rolled around and he had to leave.  I gave him a huge hug & said our final goodbyes.  In the meantime, it began to snow.  We quickly ate our Christmas brunch, packed up all of our goodies and headed west.

Once we arrived home & unpacked the truck, I laid down for a ‘eye-rest,’ pretending to be Santa can be an exhausting task after all.  Then my phone rang.  My hubby answered and as I listened my heart began to race.  Something bad had happened.  I just knew it.  He hung up from talking to my brother.  My mom’s boyfriend, a man who if they had been married (they were together 12 yrs. and our neighbor for my entire life, had been killed by fallen concrete.  These moments and events still play through my mind at least once a day.   I needed something to do so I could get through the time before the visitation.  So his daughter & I took on the task of sorting pictures.  This was one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever had to do.  Again, I found myself looking for this one or that one.  What about when he….are there more with him and Willis, or his other grandkids?

This passed Saturday night we celebrated my niece & nephew’s birthday’s (born two days and two years apart).  Her mom helped open presents as she doze in and out of consciousness.  As I have since Christmas, I found myself preparing for a visitation and funeral.  Taking as many happy photos as possible.  I encourage you all to do so as well so that your loved ones are properly honored.

I apologize for the dark & unmagical nature of this post but I needed to get this out so that I can move on in my blogging life.  I want to thank my two dear friends who encouraged me to share this and especially to FarmerLady for inspiring courage within me.

Until next time my neighbors…

A Mowing Musing

I don’t have a lot of alone time.  What mom of three boys does?  When we purchased our new zero-turn mower earlier this spring I was ecstatic!  Prior to this new ‘rockin’ & rollin”’ machine, we had a Mid-sized White Utility tractor with mower, grader and plow attachments.  It was a great tractor while it work except that I’m 5 foot 1 and 3/4 of an inch and couldn’t reach the pedals…so mowing wasn’t an option for a couple of years.

As a stay-at-home mom, I see the benefits of mowing as being:

  • alone time to ponder life and re-group
  • an opportunity to accomplishing a task where notable progress is visual.  (my favorite benefit)

Both are free therapy.  While doing a 15 min. mowing stretch yesterday morning I began thinking about the phone conversation I had with my mom the evening before.  If you read my post entitled “I Never Believed This Was Possible – But Now I Do,” you know that we’ve recently experienced an unexpected death in our family.

My mom’s boyfriend of 12 years and neighbor for most of my life was killed in a construction accident on Christmas day last year.  We all grieve differently, but watching the process my mom has followed has been an experience to say the least.  About three weeks ago OHSA completed their investigation, fining the company for safety violations.   The week following the coroner then completed her investigation and could rule on the cause of death.  A column fell on the tractor he was using while removing concrete which was falling on the street.  He was only hit on his leg but on a main artery and bled out in less than three minutes.  The coroner’s judgement was that it was an accident but could have been avoided.

As I began to mow I thought about last night’s phone conversation.  She had been crying and had her cousin’s (who recently passed away from cancer) husband on the other line.  She kept saying just how sad she is right now.  Until the investigations  her waves of grief were filled with anger and revenge.  It seems that these investigations have finally triggered some closure as she has been moved to the next step of grieving – sorrow.  I could sense just an out pouring of sadness in her voice.  It breaks my heart, nevertheless, we must plow forward.  It’s almost cliche but life goes on whether we want it to or not.

So as I whipped my zero-turn racing machine around, I noticed the serene blue sky, the different shades of greens in the beans, corn and food plot.  I gazed at my 120 year, leaning old home with it’s beautiful wrap around porch.  I thanked God for giving these gifts and my life.  It reminded me that no matter how bad our deck of cards might be or how miserable we feel about our lives, we should take just 15 min. and notice the miraculous treasures which lay all around us.

Take 15 min. today and find 5 things around you that might normally be taken for granted!  That’s my mowing musing for the day!  Happy Friday!

I Never Believed This Was Possible – But Now I Do

I heard about this new service from that helps when you have writers block.  Although, I do have things to write about I thought I’d give it a whirl.  They give you a question and you answer.  My question is in the title of the post…


And, never did I think I’d open up and blog about this because I want my blog to be upbeat but maybe my story will help someone else….I never believed in taking anti-anxiety medication…here were my preconceived notions about the topic…only crazy people take these meds, I can handle it on my own, they’ll make me sick and feel funny, people will judge me, other mother’s won’t let their kids come over…I could go on but won’t.

Although it took some time to convince me, taking the medication has really improved my life. Quite a while ago I started having these ‘episodes’ where I would be dizzy, unfocused, unable to remember simple things like spelling an easy word, overwhelmed…and just needed to sit down. For months, I attributed it to not drinking enough water and being anemic. Then on Christmas day a sudden and tragic death occurred in our family. Thoughts of losing someone had always lingered in my mind but I became excessively afraid of losing someone else – I call it ‘scared of death’ not ‘scared to death’. In addition to my Wellbutrin prescribed for post-partum depression following the birth of my sons (this has also improve my IBD), my doctor thought it would be best to prescribe a low dose of anti-anxiety medication. Honestly, anyone who knows me would probably say I should have had it before because I am a born worrier.

I continued to have the spells not making a connection with my anxiety issue. I would really push the fluids and eat something with protein and high iron content. At times it would work but many times I was left needing to take a nap. Which is hard to do with 3 very active little boys. I had my check up this week and mentioned what was happening. He asked how much of the med I was truly taking. I admitted only 1/2 a pill and only when I thought I needed it. Not on a regular basis.

Some background info…When first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative colitis – 15 yrs. ago the meds were shoved done my throat to treat the disease and side affects from the disease or necessary meds. There were times when they had me taking 35 pills a day plus suppositories. I DO NOT like taking medication, especially meds that you being reliant on.

Anyway, my doctor proceeded to explain that he had prescribed the lowest amount possible and I was only taking 1/2 of that. Basically I wasn’t getting much. So he increased it to one whole pill, three times a day. Urgh!

At the appointment, I was in the middle of an episode and he saw first hand what was happening. I can’t remember the term and probably wouldn’t be able to pronunciate it even if I tried. It’s a type of anxiety that makes your body physically unable to function and is many times associated with grief. Finally, a break through and some answers! Yay!

By the end of the appointment I was shaky and was having the ‘scared of death’ thoughts racing through my head. I immediately took 1/2 of a pill like normal – I hadn’t taken any in um, well, uh, 3 maybe 4 days. Ok, fine! I was on day 5 without the med! I drove for about 25 min. and didn’t feel much better. Reluctantly, I took the other half of the pill. I had to stop for fuel and then had about another 20 min. to drive.

I truly NEVER would have believed how I felt once I made it home. The shaking was gone, I was more focused, having happy thoughts and could make a decision about what I needed to do next. Now I need to convince myself that it’s ok to be on medication and that I’m not a crazy person. It is what it is. I obviously need the med. Like it or not, I am who I am.